Monday, June 19, 2017

Thinking Out Loud

No, this will not be an essay on my admiration for English song bird Ed Sheeran.

Image result for ed sheeran celtics

Sorry.  Just some ideas on the Celtics.

The latest rumor regarding the Celtics, courtesy of ESPN loud mouth Stephen A. Smith, is that the Celtics could use the #3 pick in the week's draft in a move for Chicago's Jimmy Butler.

Would a package of the #3 pick, the higher of the 2019 first round picks owed to the Celtics by the Grizzlies and Clippers, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Tyler Zeller (for cap purposes) be enough for Butler?  It gives the Bulls an excellent draft pick in 2017 as well as possible good pick in 2019, a cheap veteran forward in Crowder who can somewhat replace Butler, and a promising young point guard in Smart.  I'm not sure they can do better because there are not many teams with draft picks and young talent out there who are ready to cash in for a talent like Butler.

The next step would be signing Gordon Hayward in free agency from the Jazz.  The Celtics would then have Butler and Hayward as starters on the wing with Jaylen Brown as their sub off the bench.

The issue with adding Butler and Hayward is that Isaiah Thomas is going to need the ball in his hands a lot to create his scoring opportunities and Thomas is also going to want to get paid when he hits free agency at this time next year.

So, why not trade him now when his value is at its highest?

One potential buyer could be Minnesota, which is desperately hoping to make the playoffs in 2018.

Boston would send Thomas to Minnesota, where he could partner with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Nikola Pekovic to form an intriguing team - and they could afford his extension next summer - in exchange for young point guard Kris Dunn, who did not have a great rookie season, and Nemanja Bjelica, who gives some front court depth for a team about to bid farewell to several forwards this summer.

Now, if you're still with me, that would give the Celtics a starting five of Avery Bradley, Butler, Hayward, Al Horford, and rookie Ante Zizic (unless they find a cheap veteran option).

The bench would be Terry Rozier, Brown, Dunn, Bjelica, rookie Guerschon Yabusele, and whatever cheap veterans they can land to fill out the roster.

Thomas would be tough to replace but a trio of Hayward, Butler, and Horford with that supporting cast could make a serious run at the Cavaliers in the East this season and, with LeBron possibly looking to jump to the Lakers next summer and the Celtics still controlling the 2018 Nets pick and either the 2018 Lakers pick or 2019 Kings pick (via the 76ers), Boston's future would become even brighter.

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